Wednesday, February 18, 2009

oh la la - Paris!!! (don't pronounce that 's')!!

(Pre script: this has been edited...I reread what I wrote and wow, ouch my spelling and grammar was out of this world - well, two changes! So, if you happened to read this prior to the editing then my sincere apologies. I haven't corrected the misspelled French words, like I say in the post I think it adds character ;))

I've been to Paris four times, four very separate and distinct trips. And considering I am now married to a bona fide Frenchman, I will be returning to Paris again.

The first time I traveled to
Paris was with my mum the summer after I graduated from High School. It was a whirlwind of a trip. It was the beginning of our 6 week travels around Europe (check out a secondary post concerning the trip in detail). But we traveled from SFO arriving in London in the afternoon, traveled by train/tube to my grandparents' house, spent the night and left the next day for Paris. Upon our arrival in Paris, we secured a hotel, and then hit the streets. We were in Paris a total of two and a half days and in that time we saw Champ d' Elysses, the Arc d' triumph, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Lourve, Versailles, Sacre Couer, Montmarte, and more. One of our meals was Pizza Hut and Chicken wings!!! and we walked EVERYwhere, riding the metro only when arriving and leaving Paris. "The City of Lights" was but a glimmering whirl, but what a whirl. This trip offered to me Paris in multiple pieces, not fully tasting it in it's whole, but giving me enough for me to know that I wanted MORE!!!

I returned to
Paris in the summer of 2006 with my good friend Alison. This time around we had prearranged our travel arrangements, and planned to stay in a hostel in the Latin Quarter. To say it was hot and humid when we were there would be an understatement, there is good reason true Parisians leave the city in the summer! This time around we took our time. We made it to Versailles, the Lourve, Notre Dame, and had some fun wanderings, but never did quite make it to the Sacre Couer/Montmarte. The highlight though would have to be our brilliant decision to spend approximately nine hours at the base of the Eiffel Tower waiting, and waiting, and waiting for it to get dark. It was HOT and HUMID and we had traveled from Versailles to the Eiffel Tower. We knew we wanted to see the ET at night, to see it lit up, but we underestimated just how long it would take for it to get dark -- umm, 10PM. We arrived about 2PM. Even now Alison and I can't quite figure out why we stayed. We did have fun though. We created background stories for the strange people waiting there too. We met a French Texan. And we waded in the pools that cascade down opposite the ET. It solidified Alison's love affair with the ET and became one of those stories that only we really get!!!

My next two trips to
Paris were with a Frenchie, with my lover - aww, you think - two lovers in Paris, you can't beat that now can you?! Well, actually you can!! Despite having gone to Paris twice with my hubby, we've yet to make it to the ET (maybe all those hours spent there with Alison counteract the need), but there is something that says we "need" to go there and at least get a photo!!! Traveling Paris with my Frenchman is quite an experience, one that might just make it into a book one day. My hubby is a foodie, and when he returns to France he makes use of every opportunity to indulge in the foods of his youth!! We eat at *nice* restaurants, sample macacroons from the *best* pastarrie - Ladruees. We visit la fnac (this really large media store) where we spend a number of hours browsing the French DVDs. We stay in hotels. Ride the metro like pros, and I never have to worry about knowing what was said, what to say, or what to do...

But romantic? We haven't hit our romantic stride in
Paris. Our first time we weren't married for one, two it was colder than expected (never fun to be cold), three we rode bikes in the city - um, although it sounds like fun, *shaking head* not so much. G - dearest hubby of mine - is a bike rider, knew where he was going, and off he went. Me -- not so much of a rider, although I do ok, am trailing him through French traffic with buses looming on my left, navigating round abouts on the bike, and thinking I'm not going to make it to my wedding day!! So, the bikes were a no go -- much to G's disappointment. BUT we went to Musee Rodin, which was awesome and it was a lovely time to experience the art and sculpture of Rodin. Our trip was otherwise taken up watching a quarterfinal match of the Roland Garros. Again an experience in and of itself as we scalped the tickets...

Second trip was this past Christmas. Our trip to the Eiffel Tower was delayed for our next trip trip because we had one of our biggest fights along the streets of started when I didn't eat the mushrooms in the salad at a *nice* restaurant...or something like that :) (Hi Honey -- care to comment?!)

Paris brings a smile to my face every time, for very different reasons. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to visit four times already and to know I will have many more opportunities to visit, and perhaps one day live there. But first I need to learn this confounded language, not easy when I have a walking dictionary/translator!!! So yes IGNORE the misspelt words of French names, yes I could spell check them, and yes a good writer would, but I feel it adds to the mystique of my love of this strange city with tall buildings, rich history, and strong memories. Cliche, yes, but I feel each time I've traveled to Paris and spent time there I've discovered more of who I am. It has served to reveal to me, me and I'm eager to have this city continue it's role of my unveiling!!!

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